Oct 2, 2012

Personal Statement


By Reja Younis

When I was seven years old, I learned how to say "Hello" in thirty different languages. It wasn't a school assignment and no one told me to do it. I went to the library, checked out a book on it, and started memorizing. I cherished the way those unusual words sounded and wondered about the nations from which they originated.Culture and history have always fascinated me.
I remember myself being immersed for long hours in historical biographies of great figures of the past. Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh--I read them all. The stories of these individuals interested and inspired me. Soon, history class broadened my horizons. History books were like treasure chests of golden, glittering knowledge--tales of battles, allies, and enemies--I couldn't get enough of them. I fell in love with current events. I would grab the newspaper every morning and blurt out headlines to the rest of the family. I would snip newspaper articles and glue them to a journal. I knew this was history in the making. As an inquisitive child that was eager to learn, I once innocently asked my father who the "bad guys" and the "good guys" were of politics. He answered that there are none. The world's affairs are all about the perspective you see them in.
Growing up, I was a quintessential student. I was a member of the Student Government every year since the fourth grade. In eighth grade, I was elected Student Council President by the student body. I performed in plays and won speech competitions. My childhood was luxuriously carefree. Grief had never touched us. My fondest memories are of road trips and barbeques, picnics and parties. Our family had a close, loving relationship.
However, I was thirteen years old when my history took a sharp, unexpected turn. My beloved father passed away. My life shattered before my very eyes. Soon afterward, my family decided that we needed another tumultuous change to heal the wounds of the first one.
Hence, born and raised in America, I moved to Pakistan. It was a heart-wrenching move. At first, I saw Karachi with the eyes of a tourist and often couldn't believe that I left my homeland so far away. And yet, this unpleasant change became an opportunity to immerse myself in exploring a new culture.

So I accepted this new geography and these new people with their own unique history. It didn't take me long to become part of it all. I smelled the ripe mangoes in the poor vendor's fruit cart. I sat on the furry hump of a camel’s back as it trudged its way across the shoreline, the salty ocean crashing against its knees. I watched my cousins joyfully create colorful, crackling sparks in the sky on Independence Day. I listened to my relatives discuss the city's politics that often permeated everyday life. I made friends, excelled in school, and grew so much.
           
Living in two countries has given me perspective.I have learned how to examine both sides of an argument. I form my own opinions. I now know that the world is vast and contains complex relationships between countries and governments.I want to study how history has shaped us. I want to examine cultures. Hence, I want to pursue a major in International Relations.To keep reading, writing, interpreting, and discovering--this is my calling in life.
           
One day, flipping through a history book, I realized that the past cannot be changed, that the book has been written and the pen has dried. But I possessed the power and the opportunity to make the future brighter. And I suddenly did not want to waste a single minute.
           
My personal history has molded me. I've emerged a stronger, more dedicated individual. I face each day with renewed faith and energy. I would like to attend a University that gives me the opportunity to express my perspective in an environment that respects ideas and their free expression. I can contribute all of my enthusiasm, diversity, and compassion to the University I attend. And of course, greet each student on campus with a "Hello" in their native language. 

5 comments:

Zoha said...

Reja! This is incredible.

Reja said...

Thank you so much, Zoha! :)

Reja Tahir said...

this is beautiful! you have an amazing talent :)

Susan R Wing said...

Reja Younis, it was wonderful reading your personal statement. It explains your attraction towards learning different languages and reading history books.
residency personal statement edit

David Johnson said...

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